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Friday, 3 August 2018

Book Review: The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan


Three stars, four stars, three stars, four stars. Eenie Meenie Minie Moe.

I loved the story. The plot. I watched the TV series a few years ago, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I was keen to find out if I'd enjoy the book just as much.

Well, I did. Pretty much. The problem is that the writing, while completely devoid of any technical issues that I could pick up, isn't very easy-reading. I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone just discovering the joy of reading, or learning English as a second language.

Run-on sentences and fragments abound. Sentences are two or three words long. And then all of a sudden you read a monster (excuse the pun) that spans a screen and a half of your e-reader, replete with a long-winded parenthetical note which, by the time you get to the end of it, you've forgotten what came before it.

Irritating, isn't it?

So you see why I'm struggling so much to decide.

Look, del Toro is a master storyteller, there's no doubt about it. He's written a gripping book, which was turned into an amazing TV series.

I've read a few reviews that complain that there are too many characters here. I must admit, I felt that too, in the first third or so of the book. But here's a spoiler for you, which shouldn't really be a spoiler, in a book like this: most of them are dead by the end of the first half. And I think most of those characters are necessary early on, so you can really appreciate the scope of the tragedy that's unfolding before your eyes.

If, like me, you love vampires but hate zombies, well then the monsters in this book are somewhat of a hybrid between the two. I'm still not a fan of the whole zombie genre, but at least these guys have some intelligence. Some discernible motivation.

Check it out, if you're a man of more classical, long-winded writing.

My Review: 4 / 5 Stars

About the Book

A plane lands at JFK and mysteriously ‘goes dark’, stopping in the middle of the runway for no apparent reason, all lights off, all doors sealed. The pilots cannot be raised.

When the hatch above the wing finally clicks open, it soon becomes clear that everyone on board is dead – although there is no sign of any trauma or struggle. Ephraim Goodweather and his team from the Center for Disease Control must work quickly to establish the cause of this strange occurrence before panic spreads.

The first thing they discover is that four of the victims are actually still alive. But that’s the only good news. And when all two hundred corpses disappear from various morgues around the city on the same night, things very rapidly get worse. Soon Eph and a small band of helpers will find themselves battling to protect not only their own loved ones, but the whole city, against an ancient threat to humanity.

Click here to find out where you can get the e-book.

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